BPA safety to be reviewed, report raises concerns about fetuses & children

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will soon review new scientific evidence on the safety of bisphenol A (BPA) in plastic food packaging.

The agency would establish a working group of international experts to evaluate the evidence following publication of a report that raises concerns about the effects of BPA on the immune system of fetuses and young children.

The Dutch report calls for research on alternatives to BPA and advises consumers to reduce their exposure from food and other sources. However, the agency also said its evaluation had concluded that BPA poses no health risk to consumers of any age group (including unborn children, infants and adolescents) at current exposure levels. The highest estimates for dietary exposure and for exposure from a combination of sources are three to five times lower than the TDI. EFSA was already planning to re-evaluate BPA when a two-year study by the U.S. National Toxicology Program becomes available in 2017.

Food products withdrawn due to allergens per food reporting standards

Food manufacturers are reacting to pressures to conform to the European Union’s food reporting standards. As evidence, new research from commercial law firm EMW shows that the number of food and drink products removed from store shelves due to unreported allergens on packaging grew by 60 percent in the U.K. last year.

In 2015 96 products were withdrawn, up from 60 in 2014. Since December 2014, EU legislation has enforced stricter allergen labeling requirements in pre-packaged products. As a result, retailers and supermarkets are scrutinizing food items more closely. According to EMW, the cost of food withdrawals can cause losses up to hundreds of thousands for companies, with additional indirect costs with harm to brand loyalty and reputation.

Perdue AgriBusiness gets green light for new soybean processing plant

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has issued final approval for Perdue AgriBusiness’ proposed grain elevator and soybean crushing facility in Conoy Township, Lancaster County. The new facility will use commercial hexane solvent to extract oil from soybeans, processing 17.5 million bushels of soybeans per year and producing soybean meal, soybean hulls and soybean oil.

The company has worked with the DEP for more than five years to ensure the new plant will meet strict regulatory requirements on hexane emissions. Under the terms of the permit, the plant will be required to operate with a solvent-to-loss ratio of 0.125 gallons per ton, which is 24 percent below the level proposed by the company in its original application. Hexane emissions from the plant are limited to a potential maximum of 208 tons per year.

Construction work is expected to begin in June, with completion by September 2017.